“Rather pleasing new word game…” Stephen Fry

This was the first ketsudo, if you can solve it, you understand how ketsudo works:

Inspired by Zen and Japanese calligraphy scrolls, ketsudo is an original and unique word game based on the fact that Japanese text is written top to bottom and English is written left to right – and objets trouvé (found objects). Download the free app here:

If you decide not to download the app, it would help us to understand what’s needed if you could let us know why, by leaving a comment below.

The left to right text spirals around the top to bottom text, which is invisible. Find the top to bottom text and the whole puzzle makes sense.

The top to bottom text always takes precedence with spacing. And the spacing will show how many words the solution is. The spacing of the left to right word(s) may be displaced by the solution [app with ads]:

Occasionally a forward slash “/” in a puzzle indicates the start of a new word. But it is not used every time – mostly the next line down could indicate the start of a new word. As with crosswords, apostrophes in the solutions are ignored.

When a puzzle is successfully completed the ketsudo seal appears, with a bell sound. Swipe between puzzles or use the arrow keys < > top left. Hold the arrow keys to fast forward/back 10 puzzles at a time.

On the keyboard the ‘?’ key will insert a missing letter, either randomly or on the placeholder you have selected. Select missing letters, or delete existing letters by touching the placeholder. Selected placeholders turn red. In this example, all the letters were found with the ‘?’ key. (not the idea of the game!) [app without ads]

If you use the ‘?’ key you will lose a point. The puzzles are bundled into sets of 100, and the home page will give the cumulative score for each set of 100.  Therefore, if you complete all the puzzles without using ‘?’ your score will be 100% and you can consider yourself a genius.

The puzzles range from very simple to very difficult. The clue text and solution will have some relationship: funny, serious, sad, poetical, surprising, cheeky, rude, or just a resonance. The relationships do not reflect the views or attitudes of the creator, they are just there! There is no censorship. Reset puzzles with the button top right, where you can also turn off the sound.

New sets of 100 puzzles can be purchased from the home page for 0.99p, and then adverts will disappear*.

Play against others, live, on Twitter, using the Twitter button. You will need to create a Twitter account, which is free and simple. The first correct solution is retweeted, other correct solutions are liked. There is a growing community of players on Twitter, where you can interact with others and the creator of the puzzles.

Within not one thing [nothing] there are inexhaustible treasures

*In-app purchase of new puzzle sets turns off adverts. The sole purpose of providing your email address is so that we can keep track of in-app purchases and ensure you are delivered the correct set of puzzles. Your personal details will not be disclosed to any third party and will not result in spam. 

ketsudo was invented by Nicholas Wilson and developed by Kevin Holloway of Finesse. Contact nw [at] – please report any errors in the app.

ketsudo is a registered trademark.

All puzzles © Nicholas Wilson 2013-2020